Camborne School of Mines is Recruiting!

We are currently advertising seven lecturing positions. Details below:

Job title  Lecturer in Social and Environmental aspects of Mining (E&R)

Job reference  P51722

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Geophysics (Education and Research)

Job reference  P51721

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Mineral Processing and Geometallurgy (Education & Research)

Job reference  P51723

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Mining Engineering – Automated and Remote Mining

Job reference  P51719

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Mining Engineering- Intelligent Mining (E&R)

Job reference  P51720

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Mining and Exploration Geology

Job reference  P51718

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016


Job title  Lecturer in Exploration & Mining Geology (Education and Scholarship)

Job reference  P51724

Date posted  16/12/2015

Application closing date  31/01/2016

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PhD studentship: From whole algae to crude oil – an interdisciplinary approach to tackle mine waste.

colour_logo nerc-logo-115 




NERC 4-year PhD studentship: From whole algae to crude oil – an interdisciplinary approach to tackle mine waste.

Dr Mark van der Giezen [1], Dr Chris Bryan [2], Dr Mike Allen [3], Dr Clive Butler [1], Dr Christopher Chuck [4].

[1] Biosciences, University of Exeter, [2] Environment and Sustainability Institute & Camborne School of Mines, [3] Plymouth Marine Laboratory, [4] Chemical Engineering, University of Bath.

A 4-year NERC-funded PhD position, to start in September 2015, is available at the University of Exeter. This multidisciplinary PhD will combine environmental biology, microbiology, bioenergy, hydrometallurgy and phycology, and will provide the student with excellent training for a research career.

Water pollution is a major global problem and accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people per day. It is speculated that lack of clean water will rise to catastrophic proportions by 2025. It is estimated that then, 1.8 billion people will be living in areas with absolute water scarcity and two thirds of the world could be facing drinking water shortages.

The increasing world population not only puts demands on the presence of clean water but also increases reliance on the Earth’s resources. Mining has well-publicised deleterious environmental consequences and contributes greatly to destruction of landscapes and the pollution of water. This is mainly through the generation and uncontrolled release of acid mine drainage (AMD), a highly polluted water runoff from operating or abandoned mine sites. It is caused by the biological weathering of sulfide minerals exposed during mining operations. AMD is highly acidic (pH <3.0) and transpoIMAG0148rts heavy metals such as iron and copper and metalloids such as arsenic from the mine into the wider environment and watercourses. It is a significant environmental problem often requiring expensive and on-going treatment long after a mine has closed. Up to 1,000 km of rivers and waterways are thought to be affected by AMD in the UK alone.

Thus far, algae have been trialled to remediate AMD but these systems are not competitive with chemical treatment (rate-wise) or compost wetlands (cost-wise). Additionally, challenges in algal fuel production include low growth rates, high costs of drying and lipid extraction.

However, thermochemical conversion of whole microalgae into biocrudes, which can be further upgraded into chemicals and fuels, offers a highly credible route to cost-effective fuel production. Here, oil is formed from the entire biomass, allowing use of non-lipid producing algae more suited to bioremediation. Additionally, a secondary concentrated waste stream containing heavy metals is also produced, suitable for reprocessing and additional valorisation.

This project is part of the multi-disciplinary AVaRICE project ( and would suit applicants from a variety of backgrounds.

For further information on the project and the position, please use the contact either Dr. Mark van der Giezen ( or Dr. Chris Bryan ( Interested candidates with a good first class honours degree, or equivalent, are strongly advised to contact the supervisors prior to the deadline which is the 15th of January 2015 (further details on how to apply will become available shortly).

Posted in Acid Mine Drainage, PhD Studentship, Positions Vacant, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biohydrometallurgy as a remedial option…

I think this is a real future niche for biohydromet – these can be the win-win situations we look for.

BacTech Environmental Corporation – News Releases – BacTech turns to Crowdfunding for Bolivian Acid Rock Drainage Remediation Project – Fri Dec 20, 2013.

In many ways, this is what really inspired me with the Kasese operation in Uganda. While cobalt recovery was the primary driver in that case, the result is less reactive residues. BacTech are ostensibly putting the remediation first, but (I presume) will not go ahead if the value of the metal recovered does not cover the OPEX and CAPEX.

We have looked into the use of accelerated leaching of heap material to reduce the time scale of AMD production while I was at UCT and I do think there is scope for biohydromet as part of a larger remediation strategy. Even if the value of the metals produced don’t cover the full cost of the leaching operation, so long as the overall position is remediated (i.e. less active) mine waste the recovered value can be seen to offset the cost of remediation (which is necessary in any case).

Posted in Acid Mine Drainage, Biohydrometallurgy, Mine and Mining Environment Biotechnologies | Leave a comment

MEI Biohydrometallurgy 2014 :: 9th-11th June, Falmouth, UK

The end of December is the deadline for abstract submission for Biohydrometallurgy ’14, the 7th International Symposium on Biohydrometallurgy by MEI.

The last conference, Biohydromet ’12 was attended by over 80 delegates from 22 countries (Conference Report:

This year’s conference features Keynote lectures by two of the most highly respected researchers in this field. Prof. Barrie Johnson, of Bangor University, UK, will present “Biomining in reverse gear: using bacteria to extract metals from oxidized ores“, and Dr. Corale Brierley, an internationally recognised consultant from USA will present the 2nd keynote, entitled “Integrating biohydrometallurgy in contemporary mine production“.
This conference will be run back-to-back with the 3rd International Symposium on Sustainability through Resource Conservation and Recycling (SRCR).

For further details see here:


Short abstracts, of no more than 150 words, should be emailed to Dr. Barry Wills ( by the end of December 2013.

Themes of Biohydromet ’14

Biohydromet ’14 will focus on the latest developments in the field of biohydrometallurgy: the development, optimisation and application of integrated biomining process operations for mineral ores, including low grade and complex ores; the microbiology of biomining and the application of biohydrometallurgy to novel resources (such as mine and electronic wastes) and the (bio)remediation of mining-impacted environments.

1. Biomining Process Development:

  • Development and optimisation of biohydrometallurgy processes, including sub-processes of biohydrometallurgy, reactor systems, hydrodynamics and modelling
  • Associated Unit operations, Up- and Downstream processing (including waste management) etc.

2. The Microbiology of Biomining:

  • Microbial ecology and succession, both description and kinetics
  • Microbial consortia and bioprospecting,
  • Certain fundamental aspects.

3. Biohydrometallurgy Applications:

  • Biomining (i.e. Bioleaching, Biooxidation) applications – both heap and tank
  • Novel and potential resources (e.g. electronic and other metallic wastes)
  • Bioremediation applications (e.g. the treatment, prevention and prediction of AMD, metal recovery from wastes etc.)
  • Other biotechnologies in mining and metallurgical industries.
Posted in Acid Mine Drainage, Biohydrometallurgy, Mine and Mining Environment Biotechnologies | Leave a comment

Newmont’s Verde Bioleach Project Explores New Frontiers | Newmont Mining Corporation

Exciting stuff!

Newmont’s Verde Bioleach Project Explores New Frontiers | Newmont Mining Corporation.

Posted in Biohydrometallurgy | Leave a comment

MEI Blog: Biohydromet ’12- conference diary

Until I get my own report up, here is Barry Wills’ conference report. It was an excellent conference, I hope everyone found it worthwhile.

“Biohydrometallurgy ’12 (Biohydromet ’12), sponsored by FLSmidth and ProMine, with media sponsorship by International Mining was held at the St. Michael’s Hotel, Falmouth, UK from June 18-20. The following are my personal views on the conference, which I hope will be supplemented by the views of all who attended.”

via MEI Blog: Biohydromet ’12- conference diary.

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New life for old metal mines – who said European mining was dead…

The European Union imports huge amounts of metal. Yet buried deep in Europe’s bowels is a treasure trove of copper, zinc and other precious metals.

Researchers have been digging deep to uncover ways to put European mining back on the map and they’re not short of ideas.

Europe’s deepest metal mine is seemingly unfathomable, at 1,430 meters.

For forty years, Pyhäsalmi mine has been a rich source of copper, zinc and pyrites.

Read more: New life for old metal mines | euronews, futuris.

Posted in Biohydrometallurgy, Mine and Mining Environment Biotechnologies | Tagged | Leave a comment

Interesting Article: Minerals Engineering – The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing

The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing

Carla M. Zammit, Nigel Cook, Joël Brugger, Cristiana L. Ciobanu, Frank Reitha


The role of biological agents in the mining industry is currently limited to the use of microorganisms in bioleaching and bioremediation. However, there are a number of ways in which biotechnology will be used in the near future to aid the mining industry. This review focuses on the development of novel biotechnologies and the role they will play in gold exploration, processing and remediation. The development of these biotechnologies has been enabled by advances in our molecular-level understanding of the role microorganisms play in the solubilisation, dispersion and precipitation of gold, brought upon by the rapid development of molecular genetic techniques over the past decade. This fundamental knowledge is now being used to develop new methods for gold exploration, processing and remediation. An understanding of the distribution of microbial species in soils overlying mineralisation can be utilised to develop bioindicator systems that assist with gold exploration. An in-depth knowledge of how microorganisms interact with gold complexes is being used to develop biosensors, further supporting exploration. Processing technologies are being improved based upon advances in our understanding of the interactions between microorganisms, cyanide and gold. For instance, cyanide-producing microorganisms are being investigated for use in situ leaching of gold. In turn, the use of cyanide-utilising microorganisms for the degradation of cyanide is being explored. Combined the implementation of biotechnologies in the gold mining sector is set to revolutionise the industry, leading to the greener, more efficient extraction of gold.

via – Minerals Engineering – The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing.

Posted in Biohydrometallurgy | Tagged | Leave a comment

MEI Biohydrometallurgy 2012 to be the biggest yet

We’re delighted to announce that there have been a record number of registrations for this conference so far, totally vindicating the decision to specialise uniquely on biohydrometallurgy. (The previous conferences in the series have been Bio & Hydrometallurgy.)

Registrations include a number of representatives of major industry and academic groups from around the world. I hope that this conference will provide an exciting interface leading to the communication and collaboration between industry and academia that is so important in the continuing development of this field.

The conference is less than three weeks away. The current timetable can be viewed here Registration details here: Cornwall is beautiful at this time of year, and I hope that delegates can take advantage by staying on a few days after the conference ends:

Anyone who has yet to book accommodation should do so as soon as possible. Falmouth is always busy in the summer, and the loss of the Falmouth Beach Hotel ( has reduced the number of rooms available even further.


obo MEI and the Biohydrometallurgy 2012 consultants.

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MEI Biohydrometallurgy 2012 :: Update

It has been an eventful few weeks for the MEI biohydrometallurgy 2012 conference.

First we’re very pleased to announce that FLSmidth have become the latest major sponsor of this conference. We look forward to welcoming their team to Biohydromet 2012, including Gaudin Gold Medallist Phil Thompson.

Secondly, you may have seen the recent news about the conference venue, the Falmouth Beach Hotel, which has been effectively destroyed by fire ( It is a terrible blow to Falmouth, but it is hoped that it will be rebuilt in the future. However, clearly that is unlikely to happen before June.

Fortunately, Barry and co at MEI have scoured the surrounds and an alternative venue has been secured. The conference will now be held at the nearby Hotel St. Michael’s ( Clearly, if you were planning on staying at the Falmouth Beach Hotel, you will have to make alternative arrangements ( If you had already reserved accommodation at this hotel, it would be a good idea to contact Best Western (the hotel’s owners) for more information. In any case, it would be prudent to search for an alternative ASAP as Falmouth is very busy at this time of year and one of its larger hotels no longer exists.

The conference will go on! Please check the latest updates.

Conference registrations are looking good. We have a fantastic range of presentations on many aspects of biohydrometallurgy, both fundamental and applied. More information can be found here (

A reminder to all authors that they should register for the conference no later than 18th May. There are a number of papers waiting in reserve, and we are in the process of finalising the technical programme.

I’m looking forward to catching up with colleagues in this great field of work; both old friends and new.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Biohydrometallurgy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment